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Dan’s Daily: Capitals Trade Speculation, Big Day at Penguins Practice



Pittsburgh Penguins, Kris Letang, Evgeni Malkin, NHL trade rumors

BUFFALO — Not often does practice begin with stick taps and an emotionally uplifting moment. Thursday at the UPMC Lemieux Complex, the Pittsburgh Penguins welcomed Kris Letang back to practice just 10 days after he had a stroke. There’s a lot more from practice below. NHL trade rumors are bubbling around the Washington Capitals and Brock Boeser. The Fenway Group, which owns the Red Sox and the Penguins, is under fire in Boston for not dropping the cash. Also, the latest on Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and their potential trade wishes.

I’ve been a busy bee. You may have read my two-hander on the Pirates org for a tone-dead celly earlier this week. On Thursday, I cracked the Steelers, too.

I’m starting to enjoy getting back to some opinion writing. I’ve been out of the larger game since I was a radio host, but now that I’m watching all sports with a professional eye again (for WPXI Final Word), I got thoughts.

Pittsburgh Penguins / Steelers, Pirates

Pittsburgh Hockey Now: Just 10 days after a stroke, Kris Letang returns to practice!

Dr. Vyas, the treating physician, and Letang spoke after practice. Kris talked about the fear, his family, and what his teammates have meant, “Stroke is a scary word.” The honest scoop from Kris Letang.

Away from the Letang story, the Penguins’ power play showed some signs of life on Tuesday, but its lack of production has rippling effects — including one player noting it’s holding back Sidney Crosby Hart Trophy talk. Check it out — the Pittsburgh Penguins effects.

Pittsburgh Baseball Now: John Perrotto’s final thoughts from the Winter Meetings in San Diego. It was a wild week for everyone and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Steelers Now: Ben Roethlisberger’s podcast has become the most quoted and insightful thing in town. He shed some insight into the frustrations of George Pickens.

Commentary: I’ve seen this show before. Coach Mike Tomlin has two problems, and it points to his lack of discipline. A rookie WR making a stink?! An offensive coordinator ignoring his best WR in single coverage?! Tomlin is again NOT on top of the Steelers problems.

NHL Trade Chatter, News & National Hockey Now:

Washington Hockey Now: How’s this for an NHL trade ponderance — The Capitals are at least three points out of a playoff spot and are .500. One of the players they counted on to get them through this brutal first half without Nick Backstrom and Tom Wilson was Anthony Mantha, who isn’t producing. Could we see a Mantha for Brock Boeser deal from the Washington Capitals?

Boston Hockey Now: This isn’t quite hockey, isn’t quite Penguins, but it is both? The Penguins owners — the Fenway Group — also own the Boston Red Sox. The Sox miscalculated the market as they let hometown boy and MVP-caliber SS Xander Bogaerts bolt via free agency. As Joe Haggerty writes, the Bruins absolutely CANNOT make the same mistake with David Pastrnak.

The Athletic ($): The Chicago reporter shared the latest whispers and rumblings — what is going on with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, the NHL trade rumors, and the Chicago Blackhawks?

LA Hockey Now: Our new man in LA had a bit of a critique in the postgame after the Maple Leafs boat raced the LA Kings, 5-0.

Calgary Hockey Now: Johnny Gaudreau and the Blue Jackets are set to host Gaudreau’s former team. “No regrets,” as the Calgary Flames visit.

That situation still strikes me as a little weird. The Flames didn’t have a chance in free agency, but they didn’t seem to know that until after the process. Columbus is a mile away from being a contender. The Islanders made so much more sense (except for the ridiculous tax rates from local and state). Also, teams that build from the wing seem to stack goals and losses. Anyhoo…

Detroit Hockey Now: It’s probably time to start watching the Red Wings. They’re in a playoff spot. The kids are hungry and making the most of their opportunity, including Jonatan Berggren. You may not know the name, but you will. He kicked the door down to the NHL and plans to stick around with the Detroit Red Wings.

Vegas Hockey Now: Because I know a lot of you still follow Vegas (they are a cool team and the best NHL show), our man on the scene, Owen Krepps, has been doggedly covering their hot start and now their adversity. Injuries are piling up, and they don’t have the cap space to visit the NHL trade market. So, can the Vegas Golden Knights depth shine through?

Montreal: Our folks in Montreal were bullish on the crop that hit the NHL waiver wire on Thursday, including one former first-round pick. The Montreal Canadiens coverage.

Calgary also waived Kevin Rooney, who I really liked as a member of the New York Rangers. Perhaps he just played well against the Penguins or didn’t fit with the Flames, but if the Penguins get a chance to stash him in WBS, it would not be the worst thing Ron Hextall has ever done. A few interesting players hit the wire, but it’s bad timing for the Penguins as Kasperi Kapanen is showing a semblance of an NHL game again. If he had not, this space would have advocated for a wire pickup.